The Binding

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

This book started slow for me and I had a hard time finishing it . Fi r some reason I just did not connect with the characters . It’s basucally the story of an awful man and his abuse , the writing is descriptive there was just a disconnect fir me .
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An intriging concept powers this historical romance with a touch of magical realism.  Imagine that you could be released from the emotional pain and memories of our less savory life experiences.  That these could be bound in a book and forgotten in a deep vault somewhere never to see the light of day again.  ...But at what price?  Who are we without the marks of darker twists and turns that our lives take?  Who are we without our memories?  And who is the keeper of the keys of that vault - can they be trusted?  This original novel is set in a 19th century world where books are looked on with suspicion and fear by many and love is not acceptable unless it is of a heterosexual nature.  Flawed  but compelling.
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I absolutely loved this book! The characters are just precious! At the beginning your like what's going g on its a little weird but weird in a way that you keep reading wanting to know what's going on. Great book.
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This is a book that took me some time to get into.
No matter how I tried, I could not get a "feel" of the plot as well as character development.
It was OK book, but for me it was simply too slow. Sorry.... 
3/5.
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I had a difficult time getting into this book, but I will definitely be purchasing it for our high school library!  I am looking forward to book talking it/recommending it to our students who love fantasy and dystopian titles--I feel confident that they will really connect with Emmett and this world.  Thank you so much for the sneak preview!
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This book is a bit of a puzzle to put together.  It was a very mysterious fantasy.  Emmett Farmer had been very ill, when he recovers he is sent to apprentice to the local bookbinder.  The bookbinders have the power to remove memories and bind them in books.  It is a very sacred duty that his mentor took seriously.  When she dies Emmett is thrown into intrigue and is caught up in his own mysterious past.  This book is interesting but not fully explored as it could be and I wish there could have been more of an exploration of the magical aspects of the story since that was truly interesting and the setup felt like that was the initial direction of the book.
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Wow. This book ticked all my boxes. Great characterization, slow-moving yet captivating plot, complex romance, great worldbuilding, etc. If you are a fan of Sarah Waters, or more specifically Fingersmith, I think you'd really enjoy with one as well!
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I did not finish this book.  I got to the 35% mark and just could not go on.  I found myself disliking Emmett and skimming the book rather than reading it and being involved.  Maybe I will go back to it one day but probably not anytime soon.

I did enjoy the premise and the idea of binding. I thought that was very creative.
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Bridget Collins sweeps us into a magical past from the very first page and keeps us through the end with a masterfully wrought plot  and even more beautifully flowing prose that feel like the classic storytellers. Her period details are woven into the fabric of her narrative with ease, as she probes the human psyche with intimacy, exposing the motivations that drive human desire. To label this work as romance or mystery or fantasy is to diminish the rich tapestry of experience that Collins creates. a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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I just could not get into this book, the concept was great but it didnt seem to live up to its potential.  The beginning was very slow and I wasnt keen on the characters. I would also caution readers as there are some trigger warnings in this book. Unfortunately I cant recommend this book.
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I'm between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I think I would have really enjoyed this book more if Seredith hadn't died almost immediately -- what was the point of not learning anything of the life she led or what she knew about Binding? I think the book could have really been more interesting if it had stayed focused on the apprentice experience between Emmett and Seredith, then saved maybe some of the other story line for a sequel. But since that's not what happened, I'll move on. It was refreshing getting a serious love story about love between men. So often this experience is wrapped up in soppy YA drama, so this was refreshing. The concept of books being actual memories sucked from the owner is also really interesting, but we don't learn much about it since the author didn't really stay with that line. Instead we learn about the awful things that men do and how this magic kind of trade had been abused and turned into a seedy profit trade.
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I really enjoyed this novel. A fantasy with a historical setting, lush description, and such an interesting subject matter. The love story was wonderful and just so well thought out. The binding was so incredibly thought provoking and rich with darker themes that give the reader something to think about. I was captivated by this book from beginning to end. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!
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I loved this book! What an original concept and storyline. Recommended for fans of Witchmark or just good original fantasy novels!
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Spell binding is an accurate fit for this book. The concept, books that house people's lives isn't altogether unheard of however the magical world and the historical setting make for a wonderful read.
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This is an interesting take on books.  I loved the original idea of The Binding. Told in first person and well written. Emmett was an intriguing character that is slowly revealed as you see him healing from his illness, and memory is returned. Really enjoyed this book.
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"The Binding" by Bridget Collins is genre bending at its best.  This book sucked me in from page one and I didn't want to put it down.
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What an odd, yet very interesting well written book!  Dear Emmett, emotionally tortured Lucien.  A bit of magic in a period piece that comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of another time.  Really different but I really enjoyed it!
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Amazing! Such an inventive and creative novel! I am completely astonished at how creative and intricate this plot was. It takes such a beloved object and makes it so forbidden. Memories are such beautiful but fragile things and I love how this book interpreted it. I was so engrossed into the story from beginning to end. Such a great read!
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In The Binding, by Bridget Collins, books contain a person’s memories; memories that a person wanted to be rid of and were bound to the book. Emmett, who was never permitted to read books and knows nothing about them, finds out that he is a binder: a person who can remove memories and bind them to books.

Outside of the leads, there are many characters who are pretty horrible. The premise is interesting enough to keep reading, though.
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5,000,000,000,000,000,000/5 stars, seriously this book was amazing and I couldn't stop reading it. but definitely one of my new favorite books of all time.

Sometimes I worry that the world will dissolve into a giant ball of fire before we will ever reach the year 2019. But then I learn that certain books won’t be out until April. So the world absolutely cannot dissolve into a ball of fire just yet, people. We have to endure if we want awesome books.

I’m a slow reader. I think I’ve mentioned this before but nobody reads this so I might as well mention it again. I take my time reading. I will put down a book and pick up another. I’ll binge on a whole trilogy of other books while reading other books at the same time and slow myself down even more. I have a bit of a problem that way. But every now and again, I will find a book that will cause me to drop everything and just do nothing but read until I’m done. A book that will make me seriously consider staying up past my bedtime because I need to read just one more chapter! (Yes, I’m an adult and I have a bedtime, because I have a job that requires me to be conscious in the very early morning). The last book that did this to me was C.L. Polk’s fantastic debut, Witchmark. The Binding actually has a few things in common with Witchmark - both utilize first-person narratives to tell a historical/fantasy/romance between two guys. The similarities end there, though. Though if you liked Witchmark, you will definitely like The Binding. Just saying.

Anyhow –

So. The Binding. Imagine, if you will, an epic voice saying “in a world...”

In an alternate 19th century England where memories can be taken out of your head and bound into books, bookbinders have a pretty fearsome reputation. Want to forget something? Just go to a binder, and they’ll take your memories, bind them up into a book, stick that book into a vault, and you’ll walk out with no memory of whatever it is you wanted to forget. Sounds great, but also horrifying. In this alternate England, fiction is only just now beginning to be a thing – all books are people’s memories, bound up. Books are, therefore, pretty fearsome and powerful things. People sell their memories for profit. People buy books of other peoples’ memories for their own entertainment, or for blackmail, as some kind of sick power play.

In this world, Emmett Farmer (three guesses as to his occupation) is struggling to keep up with his work on the family farm (did you guess?) while recovering from a severe illness. One day he comes home and finds his parents arguing over a letter. A binder wants to take Emmett on as her apprentice. There’s no refusing such an offer – Emmett’s parents fear the binder will curse them, and Emmett, still very weak and somewhat sick, isn’t much use around the farm anymore. So he’s sent off to become the apprentice to Seredith, an ancient binder very secretive about her trade. The first third of the book has a confusing, fever-dream quality to it, as we gradually learn what bookbinding in this world actually is. Emmett (and, by extension, the reader) enters into the trade knowing almost nothing, so we learn as he does, and Seredith is not much help.

Especially not when Emmett is shown a book with his own name on it. What has Emmett forgotten?

To give away much more away would probably spoil the entire plot, but I absolutely loved The Binding. It’s got a strange, dreamy quality to it that sucks you right in and does not let you go. If you demand immediate answers to all of your questions, however, you might find yourself frustrated – we see the world as Emmett sees it, and solve the mysteries as he does. Not everything is spelled out. We’re never given a precise year for the setting, based on references to contemporary tech (mentions of pocket watches, reaping machines, references to transportation/deportation as punishment for crimes, gas lamps and whale-boned corsets) it could be anywhere from the 1830s to the early 1900s. The whole book has a real Lark Rise to Candleford feel to it, and that TV series is supposed to take place in like the 1880s, maybe? 1890s? I don’t know.

Alongside the dream-like quality of Emmett trying to figure out the business of binding and sort out his own fragmented memories is a romance that is so lovely and compelling that you won’t want to put the book down, even if it’s 9:30 in the evening and you have to be up at 5 AM to get to work. We follow Emmett as he gradually falls in love with another man, which, in the 19th century, is majorly Not OK. The romance is gradual and, at first, Emmett isn’t sure what it is that he’s feeling, and it’s so exquisite and realistic it made my heart hurt. 

Writers of romances featuring straight couples: step up your game. For serious.

Long story short: The Binding is incredible. Read it. Stop everything. Read it.
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